If you're a woman, you know that friendships with other women can get a bad rap. We're told that women can be catty to each other. They can gossip. Comparison gets the best of us. And while stereotypes exist for a reason, beautiful and authentic friendship between women is completely possible.
There is something to be said for friendships between men and women. But we have to keep in mind that men and women experience life differently. While that complimentary is beautiful, and I have learned so much from the men in my life, it's important to have women on the road to Heaven with you who are experiencing life in a similar way.
Here are three things to keep in mind so you can experience the safety and beauty of authentic, feminine friendship.
When I first moved up to Kansas City with Joseph, it was easy to go to Catholic young adult events and bemoan the fact that I didn't know everyone in the room. I left behind a beautiful Catholic community at college, and I sunk into a mentality of trying to meet people rapid-fire so that I could build that size of community back up in my life.
Our culture doesn't encourage authentic, intentional friendship. Quantity over quality seems to be the anthem that today's world offers when it comes to forming friendships. Reject that utilitarian practice and strive to sincerely and intentionally encounter other women and let them be seen. You'll be able to appreciate their gifts and beauty as fellow daughters of the King, not just a number to add to your friend list.
Abide in the Moment
We live in a world full of instant gratification. Want a meal? Just place it in this microwave and it'll be ready in five minutes. Looking for someone to talk to? The internet awaits at your fingertips. So when it comes to forming feminine friendships, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that all friendships form from an instant connection and one deep, soul-baring, four hour conversation.
Yes, the women you meet in Bible study may end up being your 2:00 am phone call when your life is falling apart. The relationships you have with the women you work with could transform into the fiercest, truest friendships you've ever had. But right now, in those beginning stages of friendship, live in the moment and be patient. Don't go mentally future-tripping with your friendship and wonder what could be in store. Exist and abide in the present moment.
When you first meet someone, you more than likely won't dive into conversations about their biggest insecurities, incredible passions or dreams for the world. We wouldn't expect that from someone on a first date, so why are we frustrated when our initial conversations with the women in our lives don't go from small talk to soul level in one conversation? Don't be afraid to let the friendship unfold.
I love how Saint Edith Stein describes the blossoming process unique to femininity when she wrote, "The woman's soul is fashioned as a shelter in which other souls may unfold."
You'll take leaps of faith and trust in your friendships. But you don't have to bare your soul immediately. Be patient and allow your friendships to blossom at their own pace. Yes, we want authentic, amazing friendships with other women, but they do take work. Delight in the adventure that your new friendships take you on.
Be Savagely Authentic
It can be tempting to put on a mask of perfection when meeting other women - especially since, as women, we're so dang guilty of letting comparison sneak its spindly tentacles into our hearts. But challenge yourself to be authentically you - messy parts and all - and allow people to get to know the real you. Forming new friendships is a lot less stressful when you don't have to constantly worry about holding onto a mask you've created for yourself.
Brene Brown describes authenticity in her book Daring Greatly: "Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness."
Often times it's easy to be uncomfortable with our identity and what we struggle with. We let our insecurities get the best of us and hold us back from pursuing authenticity in our feminine friendships. Always remember that at the root of your identity is the fact that you are a Kingdom-daughter. That doesn't mean you're perfect. It's okay to invite women you trust into your messiness and ask them for help along this journey to Heaven.